Sleepless...Spoiled or anxious?
My 9-year-old has been struggling to fall asleep for the past 4 years. Before then, he would sleep through the night, in his own bed, all by himself. It's pretty embarrassing to admit, but until recently, he wanted me to stay around him until he falls asleep.
How long does an average bedtime routine last? 30 minutes? 1 hour? Ours has been 2 or sometimes 3 hours (If I don't fall asleep before he does)! I tried putting him to bed at different times to figure out his body clock. No matter what time he goes to bed, not only is he awake until at least 10:30, but also that's when he turns into a chatterbox.
Let's say I have company during the week and it's T.'s bedtime. I go upstairs to put him to bed and even read a few pages of Wimpy Kid, so he leaves me alone for the rest of the night. Between his whining about how I don't love him anymore, I run downstairs to make sure my company is doing ok... 5 short minutes later,
Visitors: "He's still awake?", "He doesn't sleep by himself?", "You're spoiling him too much", "He won't go to sleep unless we leave. We'd better get going"
Me: (to T.) "I told you I'd check on you in 10 minutes!!! Just sleep!!!!"
Me: (to the visitors) "Please give me another 5 minutes, I'll be right back".
Distressed, I run upstairs for another round of argument on why the company is still here, why they're so loud, why I can't stay with him.
Drained, I run back downstairs and put a smile on my face...
The more times I run up and down, the more frustrated I get and curse at myself for spoiling this kid.
Then one recent night, as I'm putting him to sleep, he told me he doesn't like going to sleep because a sleeping person is like a dead person. Phew! At least I know he's not spoiled. I took it lightly, "You think you don't move and think and talk while you're sleeping? You are all over the bed, tossing and turning all night; thanks to your working brain, you have dreams and you sometimes even talk in your sleep". I knew this would only be a temporary relief to his anxiety and sleep problems. That's when I started experimenting with essential oils. I needed a potion in his room, to ease his worries, help him relax and fall asleep.
I put a diffuser in his bedroom and hit the button as soon as we go upstairs for the bedtime routine.
Ever since we started the routine, he's been falling asleep within 30 minutes of going to bed!!
Hurray!! I have a life again!
Here's the recipe for T.'s magic sleep potion:
Diffuse in an essential oil diffuser or a humidifier:
About 1/2 pint water
Lavender Essential Oil - 6 drops
Ylang Ylang Essential Oil - 3 drops
Patchouli Essential Oil - 2 drops
Feel free to customize the magic sleep potion to your own nose, by replacing Patchouli by Sandalwood.